Spartans outrun tough Clover Park, 76-63

Chris Kelly scrambles for the loose ball in the Spartans’ 76-63 home win over Clover Park last Friday. - JULIE BUSCH photo
Chris Kelly scrambles for the loose ball in the Spartans’ 76-63 home win over Clover Park last Friday.
— image credit: JULIE BUSCH photo

After jumping out to a quick lead, the boys weather streaky shooting to hold on.

If the Spartan boys basketball team needed a worthy sparring partner to prepare for the remainder of the season, they found it in Clover Park.

Steven Gray had his second straight 30-point game as the Spartans weathered several cold scoring stretches to defeat the resilient Warriors 76-63 Friday.

“Clover Park is a very good team,” coach Scott Orness said. “We knew they were going to be right back in it (when they were down,) and it was a matter of defense, rebounding and who played the hardest.”

The victory extends Bainbridge’s winning streak to five and keeps them with a perfect record at home.

The Spartans looked like it would break the game open early, scoring the first five buckets on a Chris Kelly jumper, a Gray layup, a Caleb Davis layup off a steal, another bucket by Kelly and a three-pointer by Gray.

Warrior guard Willie Jason finally got Clover Park on the board, but the Spartans continued their hot hand, capped off by an off-balance three-pointer from Kelly.

“The way we started the game was fantastic,” Spartan guard John Bruns said. “We got into it right away. We attacked the basket, scored 15 quick points. It really set the pace for the whole game.”

Orness agreed, saying it’s the best start to a game they’ve had all season.

“The kids really came out ready to go tonight,” he said.

In the second quarter, Clover Park worked their way back into the game as Jason, Maury Selvin, Phillip Riggins and Derrick Davis closed the gap to five by halftime.

Coby Gibler and Bruns hit critical shots to keep the Spartans ahead, while Gray scored on a jumper just before the buzzer.

The Warriors came out playing hard in the third, going on a 11-4 run that was capped off by a three-pointer by Matt Gereola to tie the score at 43.

But Bainbridge countered with an 11-3 run of its own. Austin Wood started it with a bucket in the paint and Gray finished it with a jumper at the end of the period to put the Spartans up by eight.

That was it for the Warriors, who couldn’t pull any closer than six in the final period. Gray scored 10 points in the quarter, while Wood scored seven. Nick Fling and Gibler also contributed by hitting foul shots in the waning minutes.

Orness said advance scouting by his father Bruce, a long-time prep basketball coach himself, helped Bainbridge jump out to the early lead.

“My dad scouted them real well and we knew what they were going to do,” he said. “We took advantage of it early, and I think that’s the reason we got that lead.”

Gray finished with 32 points and five steals, while Gibler registered another double-double, scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. He also had six blocks.

Kelly scored 11 points, while Wood had nine points. Caleb Davis scored seven points.

Bainbridge played O’Dea yesterday on the road. The Spartans’ next home game is at 8 p.m. this Friday against Bishop Blanchet.

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